Fertilization to Increase Soil C Sequestration and Mitigate Climate Change

Forest soils are a significant sink for the greenhouse gas, CO2. Concerns over climate change have led to increased interest in methods to increase the forest C sink. Fertilization of forests has been demonstrated to increase productivity of many forest types and this has an associated benefit of increased C sequestration in biomass. There is mounting evidence that N fertilization will also increase C sequestration in soil as more and more little material is produced. N also appears to interfere with the decomposition of this litter. However, the mechanisms behind the increased soil C sequestration are unclear; N may alter the composition of the soil microbial communities which differ in their ability to produce litter-degrading enzymes. The intern will, therefore, assess the potential of fertilization to increase C stores in humus and soil by comparing soil C, microbial communities and their enzyme activities related to cycling of C and N in fertilized and unfertilized plots of western Red Cedar, Western Hemlock, Yellow Cypress and Amabilis Firs near Port McNeill, BC. The study, in partnership with Western Forest Products – an integrated Canadian forest products company – will inform development of carbon indicators for certification schemes and will add to our understanding of ecosystem function.

Faculty Supervisor:

Dr. Sue Grayston


Joyce Shen


Western Forest Products Inc.






University of British Columbia



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